Friday, September 13, 2013

NFC East Review: Week One

Over the past several seasons, the NFC East was known as the toughest division in football. The Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, and the New York Giants. This division is as open as it gets. Romo, Eli, RGIII, and Vick. Each team lead by these QB's, has the squad, and the capability to win this division. Last season, Washington took the division by beating the Cowboys in week 17, 28-18. Now, this season, with RGIII coming back from a torn ACL. Michael Vick, in a different system under new head coach, Chip Kelly. Eli, coming into the season with a healthy Victor Cruz, and Hakeem Nicks. And Tony Romo, more involved in the play calling alongside Bill Callahan, plus the defense moving into a 4-3 scheme under new DC, Monte Kiffin. Also, Romo's first regular season start since signing his six-year, $108 million extension. Combined within the division, they finished 2-2.

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys

Going into this game, we didn't know what to expect. Except a very tough, competitive divisional game. And that the Giants are a perfect 4-0 in the new Cowboys Stadium (AT&T Stadium). And as I said, it was going to be very tough game...for the New York Giants. They turned the ball over 6 times. On the first play from scrimmage, Eli through an interception to DeMarcus Ware.Though the Cowboys didn't capitalize on the turnover, they settled with a field goal. The Giants turned the ball over on their first three possessions. David Wilson had 2 fumbles, and Eli had 3 picks, two of which were returned for TD's. And another play that was ruled a fumble after a punt that bounced and muffed Trumaine McBride, and was recovered by rookie DeVonte Holloman. In the first quarter, the Giants had a FG, as did the Cowboys. Now, the second quarter, Romo hit Jason Witten on a 15-yard TD pass, and a Dan Bailey FG. The Giants, had another FG, and Eli hit Victor Cruz on a 70-yard TD pass. Just before halftime, Romo went down with an injury after being tackled by Mathius Kiwanuka and Justin Trattou, where he was taken off the field for the final plays of the half. Going into the half, Cowboys lead the Giants, 13-10. Just 2:24 into the second half, David Wilson fumbled the ball, and it is recovered by Brian Church, who returns it 27-yards for a TD. As the third quarter was winding down, Romo hit Jason Witten on 4-yard TD pass. Next Giants possession, Eli leads the Giants up the field, and hits Victor Cruz on a 18-yard TD pass, and that concluded the third quarter. Cowboys leading 27-17. Now, into the fourth quarter, and the Giants stopped turning the ball over, where they hold the Cowboys to just a FG. But this is where the Eli turns it up, and make it a game again. Eli marches up the field, to end the possession with a 10-yard TD pass. They hold Dallas to another punt, and then Eli throws another pic to Brandon Carr, who returns it 49-yards for a TD. 36-24, Dallas. Here come the Giants. Eli being Eli, gets the Giants up the field, and gets Brandon Myers on 4-yard TD pass, with :11 left. Giants onside kick, Cowboys recover, and New York comes up short. Tony Romo didn't have much to say, but had something to say about his defense. "I just think it's pretty exciting to see what our team defensively has been able to do here, in training camp, preseason and into the season," Romo said.

The Cowboys went on to defeat the Giants, 36-31.

  • Tony Romo: 36/49 263 yards 2 TD 1 INT
  • Miles Austin 10 rec 72 yards
  • DeMarco Murray 20 carries 86 yards
  • Jason Witten: 8 rec 70 yards 2 TD
  • DEF: 3 INT, 3 Fumble recoveries, 3 sacks 5 QB hits 53 tackles 2 TD's
  • Eli Manning: 27/42 450 yards 4 TD 3 INT
  • Victor Cruz 5 rec 118 yards 3 TD
  • Hakeem Nicks 5 rec 114 yards
  • Rueben Randle 5 rec 101 yards
  • DEF: 1 INT 2 sacks 6 QB hits 73 tackles
What to take away from this game.

  • Despite getting hurt at the end of the first half, Tony Romo came back in the second half, with no injuries. They classified it as he "got the wind knocked out of him."
  • Dez Bryant had a mild foot sprain, finishing with 4 rec 22 yards.
  • Of Romo's 49 dropbacks, 33 of them were thrown 5 yards or fewer downfield. (67%) Largest percentage since 2008.
  • Cowboys improve to 3-5 all-time, when Romo drops back at least 50 times, 0-2 against the Giants.
  • Cowboys are 2-1 in the last 3 meetings
  • Eli Manning did everything he could to win this game, but the defense couldn't make up for his early mistakes.
  • Cowboys defense lead them to victory, by forcing 6 turnovers, the most since 2003.
  • The Giants 6 turnovers were the most since 1987.
  • Giants are now 4-1 in the new Cowboys Stadium. 
  • Victor Cruz, with his 70-yard TD in the second quarter, was his seventh TD reception of at least 70 yards since 2011, 4 more than any other player in that span.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins

Another divsional game, or as others called it, "RGIII Welcome Back Party." The Chip Kelly debut, and the return of RGIII, all in one game. The Eagles and Redskins. Last season, the Eagles sputtered, in the last season under Andy Reid. They finished 4-12. Michael Vick finished the season with his worst statistically season as a starter, and he was a turnover machine. This was Vick's chance to redeem himself under new head coach, Chip Kelly. And he did well. The first half of football, was all about the Philadelphia Eagles. They went into the half leading 26-7.  Although the Redskins got on the board first, with a DeAngelo Hall, 75-yard fumble return. After that, it was all Philly. Alex Henery with a 48-yard FG. Michael Vick with a 25-yard TD pass to DeSean Jackson. Washington got the ball back, but it all went down hill. In a matter of seven plays, it went like this: Alfred Morris lost fumble, penalty for illegal shift, loss of yards on screen to Morris, INT thrown by RGIII into triple coverage, pass dropped by Darrel Young, and safety that occurred when Morris bobbled a pitch in the end zone. In the second quarter, Vick hit Brent Celek on a 28-yard TD. Then, Vick with a 3-yard rushing TD. Halftime. Now, the second half. LeSean McCoy had a 34-yard scramble for a TD. That's where it stopped. And the Redskins came roaring back. RGIII led the 'Skins up the field, to finish off the drive with a 5-yard Morris TD.  RGIII, to the best of his ability, led Washington to within 6 points, after 2 passing TD's. One of which they failed to convert on a two-point conversion. 

Philadelphia went on to beat Washington, 33-26.

  • Michael Vick: 15/25 203 yards 2 TD 9 carries 54 yards
  • LeSean McCoy 31 carries 184 yards 1 TD 1 rec 5 yards
  • DeSean Jackson 7 rec 104 yards 1 TD
  • Brent Celek 2 rec 56 yards 1 TD
  • DEF 1 INT 3 sacks 2 forced fumbles 70 tackles 9 QB hits
  • Robert Griffin: 30/49 329 yards 2 TD 2 INT 5 carries 24 yards
  • Alfred Morris 12 carries 45 yards 1 TD
  • Leonard Hankerson 5 rec 80 yards 2 TD
  • Pierre Garcon 7 rec 64 yards
  • DEF 3 sacks 2 INT 2 forced fumbles 1 fumble recovery 89 tackles 7 QB hits 
What to take away from this game.

  • Michael Vick thrives in Chip Kelly's new, fast paced system. 
  • Chip Kelly earns his first NFL game, in his debut.
  • Eagles haven't handed the ball off to a RB on the first play, since 1994.
  • LeSean McCoy is healthy, and looks like he has returned to form.
  • RGIII is a little rusty, throwing half as many picks as last season, in his first game back (5 INT last season)
  • RGIII finished with a 15.7 QBR, lowest of his career.
  • RGIII threw a career-high, 2 INT's.

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